Muito obrigado Senhora Presidente.
Thank you Madam President.
Let me start by commending the peaceful way by which Sudan has started a new chapter of her history. This is indeed an historic achievement. Portugal looks forward to continuing working with the North and the South in building a peaceful and prosperous future for both countries.
I thank Special Representative Menkerios and President Benjamin Mkapa for their comprehensive briefings as well as for the very significant work the Special Representative and the Secretary General’s Panel have undertaken.
Allow me also to extend a word of appreciation to Minister Deng Alor and Ambassadors Kane and Osman for their statements. What we have heard from all of them today is indeed very encouraging.
Portugal welcomes the February 7th official announcement of the final results of the referendum on the self-determination of the people of Southern Sudan and congratulates them, once again, for their peaceful determination and for the orderly way in which they expressed their democratic will.
We commend the two parties to the CPA for standing up fully to the political commitment required to ensure that the peace process moves forward. We also commend the work of the Southern Soudan Referendum Commission in Khartoum and in Juba and of the UN Mission in Sudan.
The determination to establish an independent state has been clearly expressed by the Southern Sudanese people. But as we have underlined before, despite the remarkable operational and political achievement the referendum represents, the work to complete the implementation of the CPA is not over and it requires further complex negotiations led in a spirit of continued compromise and cooperation from both parties.
We are encouraged by the willingness reiterated by President Bashir and First Vice President Kiir to continuing the implementation of CPA and finding an agreement on key post-referendum arrangements, which are essential to ensure a peaceful future and a mutually beneficial relationship between two viable states.
In this regard, we welcome the start of the popular consultation process in the Blue Nile State and urge the parties to insure, once again, inclusive, timely, and credible popular consultations processes there and in the Southern Kordofan State.
Of paramount importance is, as well, finding a comprehensive agreement on the status of Abyei, encompassing all the issues at stake. The absence of such an agreement will only tend to keep on fueling tensions in the region.
We therefore reaffirm our support to the ongoing mediation work of the AU High-Level Implementation Panel and its chair, President Thabo Mbeki.
While the leaders of the North and the South continue to work together, it is also essential that both parties protect the rights of all Sudanese civilians, whether northerners or southerners.
Peace and hope should be extensive to all Sudanese, including those in Darfur. Continued violence against civilians and violations of human rights are unacceptable and must cease forthwith.
Portugal whishes to voice appreciation for the efforts so far undertaken within the AU-UN lead peace process for Darfur, and acknowledge the added value the Darfur based Political Process can represent as a complement to the Doha Process, once the enabling environment throughout Darfur has been established.
But, as many of us have been stressing, a peaceful solution for the crisis in Darfur can only be found if there is real commitment from all parties in laying the foundations for an inclusive and comprehensive peace agreement. We are therefore encouraged by the willingness to negotiate within the Doha framework recently shown by the Government of Sudan and the Justice and Equality and Liberation and Justice Movements.
Nevertheless, we urge all the other groups to join and actively engage in the peace process, without further delay or preconditions, and to cease hostilities immediately.
We also call upon the parties to ensure full and unhindered access for UNAMID throughout the mission area and to allow humanitarian workers to provide assistance to all populations in need.
To conclude, let me underline again that the continuing commitment, engagement and close cooperation of all parties will be necessary to achieve a peaceful and prosperous future for the North and the South alike.
Likewise, the international community must carry on showing its unity and acting in a concerted way, under the UN’s leadership, affording to the two states the support and encouragement they will need in the still difficult times ahead.
Portugal will continue to support all efforts that can contribute to making this new chapter of the Sudanese people’s life in the South and in the North a success.
I thank you.